Tenant demanding refund

I am not completely sure what the week is that you mention, but they moved out early and are responsible for the rent till they were contracted to. However you are also expected to mitigate your losses by attempting to re-let as soon as possible from when it is empty. If successful then you should not charge them rent if you are getting the rent from a new tenant. You should not keep their rent money if you are also getting it from a new tenant, i.e getting it twice. I have been to court on this one, and that’s the law.

At the end of the day they have gone against the tenancy agreement. Let them get on with it. I see no reason to pay unless forced to. Having said that even if the property is clean I always do a clean and snag after a tenant leaves so keep one week for anything I feel needs looking at.

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It’s very simple, the tenant pays the rent up to and including the date of their notice to quit. If they leave early at their behest, they are not due any refund. Morally, if you have a tenant wanting to move during the period the previous tenant is still paying for, then you should refund them the difference.

In Kirklees Council, some others may differ, the landlord becomes liable for council tax on the day the tenant moves out, that’s including the tenants last day of occupation would you believe, irrespective of any notice agreement, with the exception that they have to fulfill their obligations under the fixed term / initial period stated in the tenancy agreement. The council does not care that the tenant is running 2 properties concurrently, as one post noted a tenant wanted time to transfer to their new property, I’ve had this situation myself, they will only charge the tenant for one property / their new property where there is a new tenancy agreement from whatever start date. I’ve tried arguing logic, but to no avail, that this doesn’t apply to the landlord, who could have a number of properties vacant and is paying for all of them, nor will they apply a 25% single occupancy discount for us the landlords, as we are a couple. They don’t care that we don’t live there, only that we own in joint names as a couple. Discrimination at it’s worst!

Richard is correct about the nuances of a contractual or statutory periodic tenancy, I fought a case in a tribunal and lost on that basis, it made no difference that the tenant still held the keys and still had a period of notice to fulfill. The helpful tribunal clerk actual provided me with case history trancscripts to help me out and, as it turned out, show me where I had gone wrong. Following this hearing I changed my tenancy agreements to include a very specific clause referencing a contractual periodic tenancy for clarity.

I would send the departing tenants in this case a polite letter, stating they have agreed to a vacation date and you have arranged the tenancy from that date, therefore they must remain responsible for the original notice period they intended holding onto the property, as this has directly resulted in a void period.

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Why would it matter to them whether you pay the council tax, or the tenant? (In my area there is no discount for an unoccupied property, I guess it would be different in that case)

I have been there before, although maybe not such a belligerent tenant.

They are definitely liable to pay council tax until the agreed date. Hopefully the original date was agreed in writing or email. Forward that to the council and tell them this is the agreed date they vacated.

Re the rent just tell them sorry they are not entitled to it.

You do need to get these things in writing but in any event there is no entitlement to letting them go mid month without your explicit agreement.

I would encourage them to contact shelter and they will probably find they don’t have a leg to stand on.

All communications by email so you have a record.

David

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I’m afraid to say David, there is no definite about it, unless they are still within the original term of the TA. If they have progressed to a periodic tenancy, you need to read mine and Richards post regarding the differences between contractual and statutory periodic tenancies.

The council are masters at tying you up in legalities - don’t be too sure of your position, without first checking their legislation. Sadly and shamefully, logic and common sense does not enter into their vocabulary.

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Actually yes, you are right and I was wrong. If it is periodic then they don’t need to pay CT after they move out. I still think they are liable for rent up until the end of the month, there is no getting out of that.

Agree with Colin3, this is a lesson for next time get any leaving agreement in writing. Also, not to give tenants too much information otherwise you will be played again.
What has happened to you is not right, it is not fair, it is not moral, but happens all the time, do not take it personally.
Pay the week with a written guarantee, make them aware if they beak their word you will go to court and demand ALL COSTS.
Cut & run, get the next lot in ASAP.

I don’t think you’ve read my post John. I have an agreement in writing, I have not given them too much info and I have got a tenant in on the day they were due to leave. Not sure what your point is.

Yep. The law is on your side in the matter of the notice period but sounds like they are pain in the thing tenants and you’ve done well to get shot of them. I dont understand how they can get council and shelter involved once they have left the property.

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If you took back the keys early and refunded the deposit then there is an argument that you accepted early surrender and all tenant liability stops at that point. You could mount an argument to the contrary that you were just taking the keys to keep them safe, but its one you should really have made at the time and have evidence of. However, if you re-let the property the next day then that argument dissolves completely since its then impossible for the original tenant to still have possession. I’d say you owe them a week’s rent back!

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“because they had left they were potentially liable for any damages and would therefore be entitled to a full weeks refund of their rent.”

That bit makes no sense at all. You have done the inspection, so they are no longer liable for damages.

The rent is not owed to them. You might have chosen to do this anyway if you had been able to move new tenants in early, but I don’t think that was the case.

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Yeah that was my reply to their comment. Inspection was completed. There has been no further contact be it from themselves or shelter etc. New tenant is in and going great thus far. Maybe a blessing in disguise they left so soon. A really awkward pair of tenants, I suspect the parent who ignored me when I greeted them on their departure had a lot to do with it also, too much time on their hands.

Just curious where you are based? I would never book new tenants on the same day as old tenants vacating! I ALWAYS do a clean, especially during COVID. So I’m quite shocked a landlord would do this. Secondly, you can’t charge both tenants fir the same period of time. That’s just greedy & not ethical. Maybe I’m misunderstanding something?

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Hi Amy the new tenant met me, to get keys and move a few boxes in, which we then removed in case the old tenants decided to be funny. The deep clean was paid for by myself after the old tenants had moved out. New tenant then moved in on agreed date with openrent and we haven’t heard another peep from the old tenant! End of story :pray: a bit of a concern over nothing. Thanks for everyone that was helpful and Colin.

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